Why International Students Make Great Long-term Employees
June 21, 2021
We often get asked how and why international graduates are valuable for employers. Apart from their proactive initiative, adaptability, cross-cultural skills, multilingual abilities, among other transferable skills, international candidates bring another benefit to their employers: they make for valuable long-term employees.
International students make great long-term employees for many reasons, one of which is commitment. A 2012 QS study found that a majority of employers across the world value international experience highly when assessing job applications: 6 out of 10 employers around the world would give extra credit for international student experience, and over 80% of employers said that they actively sought students who had studied abroad. These figures are likely to have increased as firms around the world continue to go global.
International Students = Committed Employees
Typically, recruiters don’t like job “hoppers” (individuals who jump from job-to-job having short-term employment with several firms) as these individuals can be seen as a potential “liability”, as it can disrupt the culture and performance of the organisation. Cohesion is vital to ensuring successful teamwork, and international students ensure this as they are unable to “hop” jobs in the same way nationals can.
Many employees may see job-hopping as a strategic method of moving up the hierarchy in their career, but prospective employers may find this concerning as it displays a lack of loyalty, commitment, and longevity. This can be a pitfall for successful CVs and can lead recruiters to question why such stints were so short - was the applicant fired? Did they quit? Are they easily bored? This can be an issue even within job applications themselves, as many companies ask for specific reasons as to why employees left previous employment. Hiring, onboarding, and training new employees involves cost for firms; and job-hopping creates additional costs. Poor track records may deter recruiters from hiring job hoppers, in favour of committed applicants. Instead, international students can build up a strong track record with the same company, and prove that they are loyal employees.
Because they are unable to switch jobs frequently and easily, international students are hardworking and resilient.
International Students = Strong Work Ethic
Many come from cultures encouraging a strong work ethic, and this means they have experience adapting to new scenarios and working extremely hard to find employment in the first instance. As mentioned in an earlier blog, resilience is regarded as the most important soft skill to have in the US, Canada, France, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. International students also possess a high degree of independence, which is a valuable skill for the work environment. This requires self-motivation and an ability to deal with unfamiliar situations.
Additionally, international students possess a diverse skill set, and naturally have an understanding of how firms operate on a global scale.
International Students = The Global Advantage
With this in mind, international students directly contribute to global networking and provide firms with future international linkages. They have knowledge of international markets and will know the norms and traditions of their home country. Many may speak two or more foreign languages, so can take up multilingual roles and enhance global connections. They may have to frequently communicate in a different language to their own, which improves their networking and communication skills. In a globalised world, multinational companies are the norm, which means hiring international students is highly advantageous for firms. Along with a diverse skill set, international students offer fresh new perspectives, which may include new ways of solving problems and critical thinking. When faced with a problem in new scenarios, international students must take initiative as they may not have the same support network that national students may have.
The combination of strong loyalty, cultural awareness, diversity, and problem-solving skills means that international students are highly desirable employees. Some employers may actively look for international experience, due to the advantages of communication skills, flexibility, and numerous soft skills that are increasingly important in the workplace.
Written By Anu Jain
Anu Jain is a freelance writer and a final year student at the London School of Economics and Political Science
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